I've wanted to spin lace for a while, since before MDSW. Lately, I've been spending some time here and there doing a bit of spinning, mostly samples, mostly thin stuff. I've been frustrated because I've got little to show for whatever time I spend spinning.
A couple of nights ago I started spinning some of the Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks bombyx/merino that I bought at MDSW. I bought 4 oz with the intention of making a lace scarf and put off using it until I was "ready" (you know, when you hoard lovely yarn or fiber, waiting for the perfect project or improved skills to do it justice). After sampling the optim last week and seeing how little I actually used and how helpful it was to get a feel for the fiber, I decided to sample the bombyx/merino. Just to see/feel.
I spun about as thin as I could get it, and I spun for a while. Two small bumps appeard on the bobbin, and that's about it. I stopped because I thought it might be too thin for knitting. I'm not much of a lace knitter and I've never knit with anything so thin before, so who's to say I'd like it? Better to knit up a sample before going any further. Before going to bed I wound it onto my trusty water bottle so I could ply it later. It took a LOT longer than expected. It looked so darned itty bitty:
Last night I plied it. I plied by sight, visually checking the amount of twist before winding on. Besides having trouble seeing it (not the best lighting), I struggled with the plying-from-both-ends-without-ending-in-a-tangled-mess thing. Here's what I ended up with:
40 yards of ... less than laceweight? I had trouble getting it to register on my scale, it might be ~2 g. The plying's not particularly even, and I definitely need to practice the spinning, too. But it's laceweight, and relatively consistent (when you squint or hold at armslength).
I made laceweight!
After gently holding the lace and marveling at its itty bittiness, I sat down at the wheel again and started spinning Clover Leaf Farm silk/merino, also from MDSW. I bought 8 oz to make a shawl type thing. I aimed for a dk/light worsted yarn, and BAM! Instant progress on the bobbin! Fiber flowing through the fingers! The pile, it doth diminisheth! It hit me like a ton of bricks.
The laceweight, she take very very very little fiber. The fiber pile, she does not much diminish when you're spinning the laceweight. The bobbin, she does not fill much when you're spinning the laceweight. The laceweight, she is itty bitty. She takes lots of time. And care.
If you want to see the progress, do not spin da laceweight. If you want to see the stash diminish, do not spin da laceweight.
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I love the colors of the Clover Leaf Farms merino/silk: